Oklahoma HC Lincoln Riley Says Coaching in NFL Isn't Part of His Bucket List

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2019

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley applauds his team during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas at the Cotton Bowl, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Dallas. Oklahoma won 34-27. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley might be atop NFL teams' wish lists, but that doesn't mean he dreams of dominating on Sundays.

Riley appeared on the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday, saying coaching in the NFL is not on his bucket list.

"They see it as a stepping-stone deal. And that is true for players; for coaches, it's not," Riley said of the transition from college to the NFL. "College and the NFL are similar in a lot of ways. I don't know if you can say one is better than the other. I think it comes down to the individual person."

"I got into this thing wanting to be a high school coach," Riley continued. "That's what I wanted to do and not in my wildest dream would I even know or think that something like this would happen. So I don't know that I even have a bucket list."

The 36-year-old is in his third season as Oklahoma's head coach. He has a 31-4 record, including a perfect 7-0 this year. His transcendent offense helped turn Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray into Heisman Trophy winners and No. 1 overall NFL draft picks, and current quarterback Jalen Hurts is in a race with LSU's Joe Burrow for this year's top spot as the No. 5 Sooners play at Kansas State on Saturday.

With the "offensive innovator" status being all the rage in NFL coaching hires—to the point Kliff Kingsbury wound up with a job with the Arizona Cardinals despite being below .500 at Texas Tech—Riley is seen as the nation's crown jewel.

The Texas native also has one of the best coaching jobs in America, which comes along with security he would never have at the NFL level. The likes of Chip Kelly, Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier have seen their genius statuses go quickly by the wayside when they tried to make the transition to the NFL. Kelly, now the head coach at UCLA, has seemingly never recovered from his stops with the Eagles and 49ers.

Riley is young enough that it's possible he'll get the itch down the line. But he's highly paid with job security for the foreseeable future at Oklahoma. It's hard to see why he would want to exit the college game anytime soon.